Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique - SCO & Ticciati - Gramophone
Ticciati with the Symphonie fantastique in Edinburgh
The way in which Robin Ticciati paces the Symphonie fantastique lends it powerful impetus.
Keeping his big guns in reserve, he shapes the first movement so that the final bars reach an exciting climax, but this is an interpretation that demonstrates far more wide-ranging affinities with the music and skills of characterisation.
The reveries at the start are aptly shrouded in a brooding atmosphere; the ebb and flow of dynamics, tempo and temperament as the movement progresses are handled in a masterly manner, so that the music's scenario comes vibrantly to life. The clarity, coordination and spectrum of colour in the orchestra are spot-on for Berloiz. The ear can thus readily appreciate the individuality of Berloiz's scoring, its translucency, its homing in on particular timbres and its cunning mixes.
The solo contributions are first-rate; The cor anglais in the 'Scéne aux champs', for example, or the E flat clarinet in the 'Songe d'une nuit de sabbat'. But these are constituents of a broad palette of sonority that Ticciati and the orchestra draw on with the utmost discretion and, when the occasion demands, with exhilarating dramatic thrust. Contrasts between the lyrical poise and sweep of 'Un bal', the contemplation of the central movement and the emphatic 'Marche au supplice' are well drawn, and this is altogether a performance that has been thought through as an organic entity, a broad, vivid tableau in which images are sharply focused. The overture to Béatrice Bénédict makes for a spry encore.